1980 Shay Model A Replica Super Deluxe Gold Edition Factory AC
I am pleased to offer this 1980 Shay 1929 Model A Rumble Seat Replica Super Deluxe Gold Edition. As Shay’s go, this one is very unique. It is a gold edition with factory air conditioning. The owner believes that only 5 were produced as Gold Edition Super Deluxes with AC. This car is in super condition with only 1400 miles since new. VIN # is WA21AA2AE005383.
Built by Harry Shay & Ford Motor Co., this car was sold and warranted as a Ford production car and sold in Ford, Lincoln, Mercury Dealerships nation wide. It is powered by a Ford Pinto 4 cylinder engine mated to a 4 speed manual transmission; rack & pinion steering; front disc brakes; AM/FM cassette radio; front and rear (rumble seat area) heaters. Classic styling with “modern” running gear and creature comforts such as air conditioning makes this replica truly a usable weekend toy.
Back in 1980, the MSRP for this Shay was $13,000 (big $$ 30 years ago).
The owner just had the car taken to the local Ford dealership where it was gone thru (cost of $600) and freshened up (new fluids, new points and condenser, new battery, hoses etc.). This Shay is truly a time capsule back to 1980 – runs great and beautiful condition. The car has been used very sparingly primarily for local parades.
This model has a 4 speed manual transmission and tilt steering wheel as well as all of the exclusive Super Deluxe options. Also includes the side curtains in excellent condition.
A brief history:
Harry J. Shay founded the Model A & Model T Motor Car Reproduction Corporation in the spring of 1978 (which name was changed to Shay Motors Corporation in November of 1980).
Harry Shay had a great deal worked out with Ford. The plan was to send at least one car to every Ford dealership across the USA. Ford got publicity and attracted customers to its showrooms and Shay got access to an extraordinary distribution network. One dealer in New-Jersey even said he had people lined up in front of his dealership (shades of December 1927!). Other dealers reported floor traffic of 200 to 600 people in a single day when they first placed a Shay in their showroom. A California dealer said he had not seen such response since the introduction of the Mustang almost 15 years earlier.
The cars were advertized in glossy color brochures (see links at the bottom of this page) starting in late 1978: «Golden Anniversary Model A / Last of the Model A’s / Limited production / Sold by Ford dealers, factory-built, warranted by Ford Motor Company». This might have been the only time a major auto manufacturer participated in the reproduction of a famous car out of its past. Ford waived design patents for its Model A so that the Shay Roadster could be built. Ford supplied the platform, Shay manufactured the cars and Ford, Mercury and Lincoln dealers sold them. Nationally advertized on CNN, the Today Show, Price Is Right, Hollywood Squares, in the New York Times, Forbes magazine, Old Car News, Motor Trend, Car & Driver and other auto magazines which praised them as highly successful and more reliable than the Model A, with the modern conveniences of today’s automobile. Ads were saying there were orders to last twenty years or so.
A 10,000 limit was placed on production since above this level, the car would have had to adhere more strictly to U.S. Federal standards on design and safety. Shay was exempted from the following federal vehicle safety standards: #103 (windshield defrosting & defogging), #104 (wiped area of windshield), #108 (front side markers & reflectors), #109 & 110 (tire and rim width) and, the following more specifically relating to impacts: #201 (interior design), #202 (head restraints), #203 & 204 (steering column & rearward displacement), #207 (seating system), #210 (seat belt attachment points), #212 & 219 (windshield retention & zone intrusion from hood), #214 (side door intrusion and #301 (fuel system integrity).
After the initial 10,000 Roadsters, Shay planned to build these other replicas by batches of 10,000 units: a 1955 Thunderbird, a 1930 Ford, a 1932 Ford Roadster, a 1936 Ford Roadster, a 1937 Ford street rod, a 1940 Lincoln Continental, a 1965 Mustang and a 1924 Model T.
Shay was to manufacture the following body styles and quantities for his Model A: 500 Super Deluxe Roadsters (twin spare mounts), 1,928 Deluxe Roadsters (left spare mount), 6,641 Standard Roadsters (rear spare mount) and a handful of Special Series models such as a pick-up truck, Polar Bear, College Classic and Golden Oldie models and a very rare Model A C-cab/panel truck (between 3 and 10 of the latter were produced, with automatic transmissions, before production was halted due to poor sales). In reality, few Standard models were produced and much more Super Deluxe models were, because that’s what the buyers were asking for.
Orders and deposits were taken starting at the end of October 1978.
In March 1979, Shay hadn’t even definitively chosen where his main assembly plant would be located, even though he had already $12 million in orders for the Roadsters and even if the first delivery of Ford drivetrains were expected within 2 months!
In early April 1979, he chose Battle Creek, Michigan. At that moment, he had only 12 employees working at a little plant in Wixom near Detroit and only 2 prototypes had been built. But by then, orders for the Roadster exceeded $20 million! The final assembly plant was located at 200 Elm Street (80,000 square feet – this building was razed by a fire in July 1986 and has since been replaced by a lumber yard) and a chassis assembly plant was located at the Customs Cargo Facility in the Fort Custer Industrial Park (50,000 square feet). The city subsidized part of these installations. A fiberglass body production plant situated in Holland, Michigan, was eventually added (25,000 square feet).
The cars were not to be built according to the rolling assembly line technique. (Click here to see rare pictures of the factory.) There were teams of six men working on a single car at a time. Each team would produce two cars each day. Part of this team concept of production was to put the name of team members on a brass plate that would be placed on each car, instilling pride in the workers and providing incentive for them to do a good job. However, it proved too difficult to teach relatively inexperienced employees that many production steps. Although this costly team concept stretched out production time, it wasn’t abandoned in favor of an assembly line until the spring of 1980.
Production of the 10,000 Roadsters was to be completed by August 1980. By May of that same year, production of the T-Bird was to gradually replace that of the Roadsters.
As Shay reached his 10,000-order limit in August 1979, his first cars finally rolled out the plant’s door. Lots of owners had to wait a year between the original order and the delivery of their car.
Some owners said the doors didn’t fit well on earlier models, rattled and just were a bad mold job. Doors and cosmetic parts were worked upon to fit better. Early wheels were also reportedly thin-spoked and sometimes out of round. This problem was also corrected by having better wheels made by a new supplier.
In late October 1979, the company was examining ways to improve production time. A new one-piece body and fender assembly design was expected to save 75% of the time then needed to construct the 23-piece body and fender assembly favoured until that time. Each set of molds could produce 2 bodies per day.
In March 1980, the 1,000th Roadster came out of the factory. Letters were also sent to dealers announcing the T-Bird project.
In June 1980, the 2,000th Roadster was produced. By now, Shay Motors was the 6th largest auto manufacturer in the US, trailing by a “few” million units GM, Ford, Chrysler, AMC and VW.
In mid September 1980, Shay announced price hikes effective immediately in order to cover inflation and to maintain government standards. The Standard Model would now cost $9,995, the Deluxe Model $10,500 and the Super Deluxe $11,900. He also added that he had just started to equip his cars with the 1981 Ford Fairmount four-cylinder engine and drivetrains in replacement of Pintos’ which were used in earlier models and which had been discontinued by Ford. Side marker lights were also added to the tail lights. By that time, Shay had produced 3,400 Roadsters and start of production on the T-Bird was delayed until November (see at bottom of page for the T-Bird publicity brochure). A Shay Thunderbird was one of the prizes awarded to 1980 Miss USA & 1980 Miss Universe Shawn Weatherly.
At the end of October 1980, Shay wrote to GM, Chrysler, AMC, VW dealers inviting them to join his 1,000 strong (Ford, Lincoln and Mercury) distribution network. He explained to them how much the car’s mere presence in a showroom generated customer traffic and thousands of dollars of free publicity from local as well as national newspapers, magazines and television stations. He concluded his pitch by reporting to be the sixth largest automobile manufacturer in the US.
By mid-March 1982, faced with cash-flow problems and heavy interest payments on loans, Shay had to shut down operations in all locations. 310 workers were laid off. By then, the company was also beset with legal problems, including about 125 lawsuits filed in several states plus 14 counter-lawsuits including a $50 million one against the Illinois Attorney General for libel. On March 29, 1982, Shay Motors filed for reorganisation or sale under Chapter 11 of the Federal Bankruptcy Act. In the Court papers, it was declared that 5,000 Roadsters and 200 T-Birds had been produced and delivered. Shay Motors reported having $9.5 million in debts and almost $8 million in assets. Sales had been highest in Michigan, Illinois, California, Florida, New-Jersey, New-York, Connecticut, Arizona, Oregon and Washington.
On July 6, 1982, Shay Motors filed for liquidation of its assets, negociations with the Creditors’ Committee having reached an impasse.
In April 1983, Camelot Motors Inc., doing business from a former warehouse in Marshall, Michigan, was authorized by a Federal Bankruptcy judge to purchase the tools, patents and other equipment of the defunct Shay Motors Corp. for $2.4 million and to re-start the production of the Model As and T-Birds. These cars were to be sold from $10,000 to $20,000. Camelot planned to build 400 cars in its first year and no more than 2,000 cars per year afterwards. They beefed up the Model A’s frame and added windshield defrosters. In June 1983, they sold the Roadster for $11,765 retail ($9,975 to dealers), the Pick-Up for $12,495 retail ($10,595 to dealers) and the T-Bird around $19,000 retail (including a V-8, whereas Shay’s T-Bird had only a 2.3 liter 4 cylinder). The Roadster’s optional equipment list was shorter than in Shay’s time, including only a rumble seat heater, automatic transmission, chrome spokes or entirely chrome wheels, radio, whitewalls and the rear trunk & rack. They were produced until 1986 and a phaeton model was eventually added to the line. After a short stay in Marshall, they relocated to the big town of Quincy, Michigan, in a larger building.
– Rare factory AC model
– Super low mileage
– Rare Gold Super Deluxe Edition
– Classic looks without the classic running gear
I have not seen or photographed this great car. I am relying on the pictures and description provided to me by the seller. This car appears to be in excellent shape and is well maintained. Super low mileage and factory AC add to the appeal. It will not disappoint.
Please feel free to ask questions prior to bidding. I will make sure to get every questions answered in a timely basis. However, don’t hesitate too much on this car. If you hesitate, you will lose.
I invite and encourage any interested party to inspect this car in Hershey, PA and determine for yourself that this car is truly in excellent condition. Seeing is really believing.
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Sold For: $16,000
Terms & Conditions
This item is being sold as is, where is with no warranty, expressed written or implied unless there is a warranty in effect from the factory. The seller shall not be responsible for the correct description, authenticity, genuineness, or defects herein, and makes no warranty in connection therewith. No allowance or set aside will be made on account of any incorrectness, imperfection, defect or damage. Any descriptions or representations are for identification purposes only and are not to be construed as a warranty of any type. It is the responsibility of the buyer to have thoroughly inspected this item, and to have satisfied himself or herself as to the condition and value and to bid based upon that judgement solely. The seller shall and will make every reasonable effort to disclose any known defects associated with this vehicle at the buyer’s request prior to the close of sale. Seller assumes no responsibility for any repairs regardless of any oral statements about the item.
Buyer is responsible for cost of shipping but seller may be able to assist in arranging shipping. I can be reached at (630) 567-0066 to discuss the item.